Eat Some Protein
Research shows different foods and nutrients affect how full and satisfied people feel. For example, a number of studies indicate that calories-for-calorie, protein makes a person feel more full than carbohydrates or fats. This suggests that eating adequate lean protein can help control hunger and food intake.
Eat More Fiber
Additionally, dietary fiber has been shown to affect the feeling of being full and food intake. Research shows that eating an additional 14 grams of fiber per day is associated with a 10 percent decrease in calorie intake and a loss of body weight of a four pounds in four months. Eating more high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a nutritionally sound way to not feel as hungry when reducing calorie intake. (Note: increase fiber gradually to avoid stomach upset, gas and diarrhea.)
About Energy Density of Food
In addition to nutrients such as protein and fiber, the energy content of food, gram for gram, also affects how full we feel. The term for this is energy density, which is simply the amount of calories in a gram of food. The relationship between the weight of food and its calories content is largely based upon the amount of water in the food. Water adds weight but not calories, so the higher the water content the lower the energy density.
Studies consistently show that over the course of a day or two, a person eats about the same weight of food. On average, the weight of food eaten is more constant than the daily calorie intake. So if you eat the same amount (by weight) of food, but lower the calories in each portion, you will consume fewer calories. Studies also indicate that you don't even miss the calories and feel just as full as the high calorie day.
Low Energy Density Eating Tips
- Eat more water-rich fruits, vegetables, and soups
- Add fruit to breakfast cereal
- Choose fresh fruit for snacks
- Add more vegetables to pizza, stir-fry, and pasta dishes
- Include a tossed green salad with lunch and dinner
- Choose broth-based soups before meals or as a meal
- Increase fiber intake by eating more high-fiber cereal, whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits.
- Limit intake of dry foods
- Limit consumption of dry foods such as pretzels and crackers, as they are dense in calories and are easy to overeat
- Drink water, low-calorie or calorie-free beverages such as fruit juice diluted with seltzer, diet soft drinks, etc.
- For snacks, "liquid foods" such as vegetable cocktails and drinks containing protein, such as those based on milk, are good choices to increase the feeling of fullness.
- Research - How Many Calories are In Foods You Eat?
- Plan - How Many Calories Does Exercise Burn?
- Calculate - What is Your Body Mass Index (BMI)?
To learn more check out Volumetrics: Feel Full on Fewer Calories by Barbara Rolls. Volumetrics discusses the science of satiety; what researchers know about food choices that help us feel full. Learn how to eat low-calorie, high-volume foods so you feel full even though you've eaten fewer calories. You'll lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived.